What Is Atomic Data Type in Java?


Angela Bailey

What Is Atomic Data Type in Java?

The term atomic data type refers to the most basic and fundamental data types in the Java programming language. These data types represent simple values and are not composed of smaller parts. They are called atomic because they cannot be divided into smaller units.

Java’s Atomic Data Types

Java provides several built-in atomic data types, which include:

  • byte: The byte data type can store whole numbers from -128 to 127.
  • short: The short data type can hold whole numbers ranging from -32,768 to 32,767.
  • int: The int data type is used to store whole numbers within a larger range, from -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647.
  • long: The long data type can hold larger whole numbers ranging from -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807.
  • float: The float data type is used for storing decimal values with single precision.
  • double: The double data type is used for storing decimal values with double precision.
  • char: The char data type represents a single character in Unicode encoding.
  • boolean: The boolean data type has only two possible values: true or false.

Differences Between Atomic and Non-Atomic Data Types

The key difference between atomic and non-atomic data types in Java is that atomic types are indivisible, while non-atomic types are composed of smaller units.

For example, the atomic data types we discussed earlier (byte, short, int, long, float, double, char, and boolean) cannot be further divided into smaller parts. However, non-atomic data types such as arrays and objects are composed of multiple atomic or non-atomic elements.

Benefits of Using Atomic Data Types

Using atomic data types in Java has several benefits:

  • Efficiency: Atomic data types have a fixed size and consume less memory compared to non-atomic data types.
  • Simplicity: Atomic data types are straightforward to use as they represent single values.
  • Performance: Operations performed on atomic data types are usually faster compared to operations involving non-atomic data types.


In Java programming, atomic data types play a crucial role in representing simple values. They provide efficiency, simplicity, and improved performance for various operations. Understanding the differences between atomic and non-atomic data types is essential for writing efficient and optimized code.

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